Questions I Hate: “Will All Decision-Makers Be Present?”

Last year, I took my daughter to the county fair. While wandering through the vendor room, I was intrigued by a household gadget and stopped to take a look.

Now, it doesn’t matter which gadget this is. Just know that it’s something silly. Something nobody really needs, although it was kind of neat. Honestly, I might have been tempted to buy one if the lady hadn’t immediately gone into a hard pitch. I began to panic, because I suck at saying no. I was trying to back away, but she kept talking. Finally, maybe registering the sheer desperation on my face, she said, “We’re having a drawing. You might win one for free!”

Sure. Fine. Whatever. All I saw was a way to make my escape. Enter the drawing and move on. I gave them the number to my landline. After all, this is the entire reason I still have a landline — to divert solicitors away from my cell phone. And sure enough, two days later, the phone calls started.


I saw the name on the caller ID and chose not to answer. They didn’t leave a message. For more than a year now, they’ve been calling anywhere from one to five times per week. Now, a stronger person would simply answer and say they’re not interested. But that’s not me. I chose avoidance instead.

Then, the week before I left for London for the UK Meet, the phone rang, and my god damn (well-intentioned but oblivious) husband answered it. Not only that, but when they asked for me, he didn’t lie and say I wasn’t home. He handed me the phone.

It turns out I won the gadget. But of course, that’s not all. They need to come to our home to demonstrate it. It goes without saying that a sales pitch will be involved. I, being a total pushover, set up a date and time for them to come. I was dreading it. Then, the woman on the phone asked the question.

“Will your husband be home for the presentation?”

I fucking hate this question. When asked this question a couple of months ago by the carpet salesman, I calmly said, “No, and he doesn’t need to be. I’m perfectly capable of picking out carpet on my own.” He wisely dropped the matter. This time, I said, “No. My husband works weekdays.” Of course the response I got was, “We prefer that all decision-makers be present in the home.” Because, you see, my feeble female brain is incapable of making decisions about household gadgets. I need the opinion of my big, strong husband.

I wonder: if it had been my husband they were talking to, would they have asked if his little wifey-poo was going to be there to assist him?

Somehow, I doubt it.

But here’s the thing: whether I like to admit it or not, this time, their sexism worked to my advantage. Because you see, I am female, and like many of my gender, I was raised to avoid conflict at all costs, which means I’ll often cave in and make a purchase simply because it’s the fastest, most effective way of getting the annoying salesperson to leave. Then I spend a week hating myself for being a pushover. But not this time. Instead, I happily re-scheduled to a Saturday, when DH would be home. After all, he’s the one who answered the damn phone call in the first place. And he is most definitely not a pushover. Once they’ve “demonstrated” our “prize,” he won’t hesitate a second before telling them their time is up and that we’re not interested.

So, am I justified in being annoyed at the “decision maker” question? Or should I just be glad somebody else will be here to tell them, “Hell no!”?

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19 Responses to Questions I Hate: “Will All Decision-Makers Be Present?”

  1. meep says:

    Over a year? That’s some pushy sales people.

    I always walk away from a hard sell, if I want something I’ll ask about it, if it’s pushed on me I flee. My husband is worse than me though, he just stands there nice and tall and leaves me deal with them.

    Asking to speak to the ‘man of the house’ is a sure way to put my back up though! It immediately turns me from irritated but listening, to no way in hell. I had someone last week about cleaning the guttering, I got told to ‘run along and get him’ I just repeated the ‘run along?’ and stood staring at him until he eventually figured out I wasn’t impressed.

  2. Sae says:

    Ha! I like this scenario because it is one of the few situations where you get to have your cake and eat it too: yes to both questions! You’re perfectly justified in being annoyed and in having someone else say ‘no’ for you. They’re in the wrong for putting you in that position, and it’s their own fault that you use the tactics that work.

    My annoying sales story? I got a call from the local newspaper and they asked if my mom or dad was there. It was somewhat satisfying to be able to inform them that not only was I old enough to be making decisions for myself, thank you very much, I was interning with them, and no, no one in the “household” needed a subscription.

  3. Aniko says:

    I’ve never had to deal with that scenario because I don’t have a husband. However, if I were, I’d say to them sweetly – I AM the decision maker. If that’s not good enough for you, your product isn’t good enough for me.

  4. PD Singer says:

    Actually, speaking as someone who used to sell big ticket items on commission, it’s a really good idea to know if you are dealing with all the decision makers, but you definitely need to do it tactfully, which no one in these stories has done. The biggest, most irrefutable objection a buyer can make is “I have to check with the spouse.” If you hear that, you are basically hearing “No,” so they’re trying to improve their odds of a sale, even if they just insulted someone in the process. Bad maneuver.

    I did buy a car once where I’d done the choosing, the negotiating, arranged financing, and would be the sole name on the title, and only brought the MU because I needed a ride to the dealership. The finance guy promptly began to address him exclusively. And he, the darling, and this is probably why I married him, said, “Talk to her. I’m just along for the ride.” F and I guy wasn’t smart enough to take the hint. MU turned to me and said, “Honey? Do you really want to do business here?”

    Dumbass got real respectful after that.

    • Marie Sexton says:

      That does make sense. I’ve probably used the “I have to ask my husband” excuse myself. But man, when I say, “he doesn’t need to be here,” I mean it! LOL.

    • meep says:

      I have to say kudos to your MU there!
      I absolutely hate that scenario, my hubby is too nice bless him, he smiles and agrees then looks at me and I get not so nice, but with a nice fixed smile 😉

  5. This has happened many times to my sister-in-law (who, unlike me, actually communicates with the outside world face-to-face). The best example, though, was they were talking with a sales guy of some sort (can’t remember if it was to do with a car, loan, or what, but the guy’s job was to convince them to buy his product/choose his service). They made it clear up front that she was the one whose decision it was, but the guy kept talking to her husband. Then their young child got bored and started to act up, so her husband picked up their daughter and left the room. That was when it hit home with the sales guy that he’d made a giant mistake, and he started floundering in panic, because now he was stuck trying to convince her to buy their service even though he’d spent the last half hour insulting her indirectly.

  6. Adara O'Hare says:

    I had something similar happen to me. I put in for a free gift certificate. Turns out that “free” means we have to come test your water and give you a presentation about it. Fine. Give me a presentation.

    They did not say anything about my husband needing to be part of the presentation when I set up the meeting.

    So the guy gets to our house around 7pm on a Friday night. My husband’s D&D group plays at our house on Friday nights, so he was home, but busy. The guy says that both of us have to sit through the presentation. I ask why. He says it’s company policy. I say they didn’t mention it on the phone. He says sorry, it’s policy, so we’ll have to reschedule.

    I tell him my husband is busy, so I guess we’re no longer interested then, goodbye.

    One of the guys in the D&D group said the salesman was pretty pissed about that judging by the look on his face. I couldn’t’ve cared less. If they’d mentioned it on the phone in the first place, I either wouldn’t have scheduled it, or I would have made it for a different night. Their fault, their problem. I don’t care. They should’ve been more up front.

    Whatever works for you, go with it. But if it’s not worth it, saying ‘No’ isn’t too hard to do, and really no skin off anyone’s nose. =)

    • Marie Sexton says:

      Wow, that’s obnoxious for them to not mention it ahead of time. I know you’re right, that there’s no reason I can’t just say no, but I’m just so bad at it! >.<

  7. jules0623 says:

    Actually, the opposite has happened to me. My hubby got sucked into a demonstration for some kind of super saucepans and the person insisted I had to be there as well. I hate those kinds of things and wanted nothing to do with it, but they told him they couldn’t come unless all the decision makers were present.

    (He ended up signing up for the obscenely expensive saucepans against my advice but I convinced him to call back and cancel within the 7 day cooling off period – which still appears on every credit check we get done, btw!)

  8. Ernest says:

    Girl, you’re a writer! Come up with some kick-ass replies to these questions. “My husband is out shopping for our yacht but he can’t buy it without me. He has to have my decision to buy.”

    I was told once that the husband is the easier target, generally and that is why they want them. Wonder if that’s still the case nowadays with all the queer husbands. LOL!

  9. Jackie McKenzie says:

    I know exactly what you mean with the “decision maker” question. Makes you wonder how we all survived to adulthood without our big strong men to guide us. When someone pulls that with me I just write them off. It is also true what you said about avoiding conflict though. I hate saying “no”. I have a house full of gadgets because I just can’t say no. So, yeah I let the big strong man say no for me a lot.